Getting Viking Strong at The Global Strongman Gym

Strongman Gym fbs

Last Saturday morning, I finally went to my very first class at the Global Strongman Gym. I didn’t really know what to expect but knew that as soon as it opened in Brooklyn, I would be there to check it out. The new space is HUGE and apparently at least 3 times the size of the old Chelsea location. In the new space, they offer both individual training and a group class to dip your toe into learning the Strongman way. Hans Pirman, who started out as a body builder and personal trainer before finding his passion for Strongman and opening his dedicated gym in 2011, is like meeting a very friendly Viking in person and I knew I was going to like him immediately.

Strongman FBS - Hans

The space is filled with all of the Strongman toys you could want and I wanted to play with ALL of them. For that very first class, about 10 of us showed up…and at least 5 of us had never done it before. The class as Hans describes it is a push movement and pull movement, which makes it sounds like it’s going to be a pretty standard workout but really, it’s anything but! After a short warm up, the first up was a “log” press – the ones we used are a metal version, but in the gym there is an actual log with handles carved by Hans. The ladies were divided off into our own group and at first the log was really light for me, but on round 2, Hans added more weight and when he jumped me up again for round 3, I really started to feel it.  I was so glad I didn’t ask to jump up to the next log size! Also, I pretty much learned in that class that when Hans gives you a weight to lift, you just do it. “Just pick it up” was not a statement to question from the Viking!

Strongman -FBS2

Next up was the pulling portion – working on the classic Strongman move of being able to lift a car. The heavy version in our class was lifting a 450lb tire that was set on a rig with handles, which most of the guys did. Then there was a bar option that the women went on. At first, I felt sort of grumpy that I wasn’t in the tire group but that bar version was heavy…and while the first round was easy(ish), once Hans added plates for that second and third round, it was super challenging. I’m going to work my way up to that damn tire group though! After a few rounds of the Farmer’s Carry, which for my group was 75lbs in each hand (a PR for me), I figured we were done. We weren’t done but it WAS the water break section!

One of the guys in class has been working out with Hans for over year and told me it was the only gym he’d ever been a member of. “The first workout I ever did was supposed to be an hour, I lasted 30 minutes before I seized up. As Hans was stretching me he said  ‘you are very out of shape. Did you know that?’ I was like YES. That’s why I’m here and he told me he could fix that…and he has.” I mean, if you have to pick only one gym ever, Strongman is a very cool one and I also completely see why you’d place your trust in Hans.

Strongman - FBS Atlas Stones

Getting ready for the Atlas Stones, I heard something I’ve never heard in a workout: “Put out your arms, I need to duct tape them.” Again, I didn’t really question Hans, just stuck out my arms and he explained while he did it that it was to protect your forearms when you lifted the cement spheres. I was a little concerned that it’d hurt coming off, but my friend who’d joined me in the class and is a seasoned strongman pro, assured me I’d sweat so much it’d come right off. I was dubious but she was totally right. My stone was the lightest option, 90lbs.  Basically, the goal is to just pull up the stone from the ground into your lap and then roll up your body and hoist onto a chest high platform. Then, pull it off the platform and let this big cement ball drop at your feet to start again – which was easily the only thing that truly scared me during the whole class. I was terrified I wouldn’t move my feet out of the way fast enough. It was fine and once I did it a couple of times, it seemed like the most sensible way to get the thing back to the start.  We did 3 rounds of 5 and even though I stayed at the same weight, that damn ball just seemed to get heavier every round.

We capped off the class with a round of ab work and then the most awesome surprise ever…Hans pulled out a stretching table and called us over one by one to get stretched. It was amazing and the best end to a strength class ever…like Savasana for Strongman.  A few days later, I made my way back to the gym to see if I could take some pictures for this post and Hans asked if I was sore after class. I laughed: “I haven’t been THAT sore after a workout in ages ..and I can’t wait to come back.” Seriously. I walked out of class feeling relaxed, strong and almost giddy at getting to really challenge myself. Plus, I really have to go back because being able to lift a car might come in handy if there ever is a zombie apocalypse…

 

FBS + Global Strongman Gym

 

Drop-In Group Classes are Saturday mornings, 10-11:15am at 987 Pacific Street.

Photos by Eric Stafford

FBS x The Fhitting Room Flatiron & Daury Dross

Fhitting Room x FBS 1

I’ve been giddy about the Fhitting Room opening its new Flatiron space since the moment I heard about it. The Fhitting Room is just an awesome, challenging but fun take on a HIIT workout and its new spot is worthy of just how good it really is. The new studio is roughly 4 times the size of the original, with two floors, a large studio and a smaller one for more intimate groups, water bottle filling stations, lots of lockers, showers and a vanity bar- so that when you finish class in a puddle you can make yourself presentable before venturing out into the world!

Fhitting Room x FatBottomSlimSo when offered the chance to host an exclusive class at the new studio led by powerhouse Daury Dross, I jumped at the chance.  I quickly wrangled up a group of some of my favorite fitness fiends, most of whom had never managed to make it to the UES original but were excited to check it out. Our class was in the downstairs studio, which seemed tiny in comparison to the massive upstairs space. Turns out it’s the same size as the original studio and really, Fhitting Room has become masterful at fitting in a lot of challenging work in a small space!

Fhitting Room x FBS 2Daury kicked off the class with a good, solid warm-up of 2 rounds of 45 seconds each of High Knees, Reverse Lunges and then Shoulder Taps while in Plank.  As a group we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, warmed up and in it! Then it was to the suspension straps for two rounds, 45 seconds each of Alternating Pistol Squats, Rowing and the evil Hamstring Curls with your feet in the straps. Daury warned us that those last ones were going to suck and as he yelled out corrections to everyone’s form… they really DO make you seriously hate the person (momentarily at least) who suggested they might be a good idea.

After that section, a couple of my crew were starting to give me death stares but I just grinned back, we were in it now. Then it was on to the next section – another 2 rounds of 3 moves for 45 seconds each that hit everything, this time with dumbells. Daury went at the guys for going too light and made them all go back to get a heavier weight, which caused some grumbling but then every single one of them crushed it. Daury would yell at us to go faster… and tease us for breathing hard but really wanted to just see us give it our all. It was awesome to see everyone put their game face on and GO for it.

Fhitting Room x FBS 3

The final workout was a tabata of 3 different stations that you stayed at for 4 minutes – that 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest thing gets brutal fast.  My first station was the rower, which I love. My goal for each 20 second burst was to hit 100 meters and somehow, I managed to make that happen but by the end, that was so damn hard. I got off the rower, spent. Next up was the Ab Mat sit-ups, which flew by – it wasn’t a breeze but seriously, Pilates work for the win there. The final station made me want to cry a little bit though – 4 rounds each of Squat Jumps and Hand Release push ups. At the end of that round we all collapsed, spent but fitness happy, until Daury was like – “Wait. You think you’re done?” The final 5 minutes were a partner round – one person did wallsits while the other did 8 burpees. We all burst out laughing but then got to work.

Fhitting Room x FBS 4

Daury is one of my favorites at the Fhitting Room because even with all of the cursing and teasing you just know he loves what he does and seriously just wants to make every single athlete in front of him reach their full potential. He pushes you because he truly thinks you can be great. I left class spent and proud of the work I’d put in but I also knew I’d being feeling it later.

Fhitting Room x FBS 5

I might have cursed Daury a little bit that next day…

 

Photos and video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS.

Barry’s Bootcamp’s Newest Rockstar: Matt Nolan & Getting Pushed Out Of My Comfort Zone

Last week, I ended up in three random conversations about Barry’s Bootcamp. This isn’t so unusual but what was curious is that in each one, Matt Nolan’s name came up as one of their favorites.  So, when Ryan Makely, Flywheel rockstar and one of my all time favorite fitness friends, threw out a possible fitness date at Barry’s that Matt would be leading, I was all over it. I signed up immediately.

Matt Nolan Barry's Bootcamp

I settled onto my reserved treadmill and steeled myself for what was about to happen. Matt told us that if we were on the treadmill, we needed to be moving while we were waiting for class to start – so that we could warm up for what was to come…and that we were going to do 3 rounds. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Barry’s class where we were told the breakdown at the start of class and I loved knowing! As class kicked off, Matt yelled “In this class, you will not walk. YOU JOG when you rest.” My heart sunk. I’m so a run/walker and not even a solid one at that. But I cranked the treadmill up to a jog and shook off my trepidation about the class ahead. As we launched into the run, Matt’s ranges were higher than I could do, so I spent the class about a good point below whatever he called out. I would do whatever the incline request was and launch into a (my version of a) sprint when asked. Matt never once made me feel bad about it – which was appreciated. I was trying hard.

On the floor sections, Matt would demo the next moves ahead and then if anyone seemed confused, he would go around and make awesome, concise, verbal corrections. Barry’s isn’t ever the place for hands on adjustments but Matt did an amazing job of spotting and fixing people verbally.  His form corrections were on point and helpful. It was during the floor section that Matt’s good nature and love for what he was doing shone through.

treads Weirdly, even though I was slower than everyone else through the next two incline run sections, I managed to never walk. I just followed his calm, detailed instructions and just keep going. When we finally hit the last sprint on an incline, I hit a solid 7.2 at 6% incline and was just damn impressed with myself. Matt got me out of my head and out of my comfort zone.

After another ab and arm focused floor section, I was spent. Matt had us finish with a long stretch (for Barry’s) that I was eternally grateful for… I was happy and totally wiped but that stretch meant that I wasn’t as broken as I thought I would be at the end!  It’s no wonder Matt is a rising star at Barry’s – he’s form focused, skilled and charming. I will totally be back!

After Class w Nolan and Makely

 

Photos of Matt and treadmills from Barry’s Bootcamp’s website.

No Rest For The Motivated: Kira Stokes Joins BFX Studios

Kira Stokes has taught a killer “Stoked” series of classes for years at Reebok Sports Club/LA, the super swanky and expensive UWS gym, developing loyal and rabid fans of workouts that kick your ass from head to toe. The problem was that really only the people at Reebok had access to that awesomeness on a weekly basis – this week that all changed.  Kira joined the new Boutique fitness venture BFX, which offers both monthly membership options and single classes.  This is a VERY good thing.

Kira Stokes BFXInvited to preview week, I didn’t even think twice & signed up immediately for both of her Monday night classes. It’s been ages since I’ve taken even one of Kira’s classes and even longer since I’d tried a double – I don’t know what I was thinking! On Monday nights she’ll be teaching her C3 Barre Max class and her signature Stoked 360.  I’d taken 360 (and loved it) but her Barre class was the wild card, so I knew I had to try it.  In my head I figured it would be just a lot of barre with Kira’s spin on it but that I would be fine.  I was wrong – those 3 C’s stand for Core, Cardio and Conditioning.  In the first few minutes of class, she told us that this class used to be 75 minutes, so really, she just had to make sure that we thoroughly felt it in 60.  10 minutes in, when we were still on planks and pushups, I knew that this double would be much harder then I’d anticipated.  My recent Pilates work made the roll-up/c-curve portions of the class my strongest part. We planked, did multiple variations on push-ups, did mountain climbers on sliders, c-curve pulses with weight, and did a few plyometrics for good measure. It was about at the halfway mark before we even touched the barre, and I knew I was in trouble with this double.  The barre work really consisted of maybe 6-10 minutes, because really, Kira didn’t need that prop to get to every tiny little muscle in your body. I was sweating buckets by the end of that Barre class.

1623678_1494765160740176_5429448453707692703_n I steeled myself for the next class, Stoked 360, and tried hard to regroup. There were a group of us doing the double, mostly Kira’s diehards who would follow her anywhere and trained with for years, and then me, who hadn’t been to a class in ages.  I’d taken it before and knew that on it’s own it is tough, but with all of my training recently, assumed I’d be fine. The idea of 360, is to hit all of your muscle groups with compound movements done in sets, then repeat it three times before moving on. One: first to learn the move, two: to understand it and three:  perfect it.  As Kira would explain each new set, we would jump rope. It was that cardio spike that made it so there were absolutely no breaks built into the workout.  As Kira said in the middle of class “I don’t cue rest breaks”- if you needed one, you had to take it yourself, she wasn’t going to give you the permission.  Stoked 360 is awesome because it hits everything – and is constantly changing so that you are always challenged. Half an hour in, Kira announced, “We have 45 minutes left and we have a lot to get done. Don’t stop now.” I must have looked visibly stunned, since she looked directly at me and said “YES, this class is 1 hour and 15 minutes and I expect you to give it your all.” Everyone hooted and hollered but I literally wondered if I would just fall over before that full 75 minutes ticked down. It was amazing how many people had followed her to her new spot… but really, considering how good Kira is at challenging you in a way few can, it isn’t THAT surprising.

She's Mad but she's magic

Kira’s BFX classes are going to be capped out at about half of the size of some of largest Reebox classes.  They are going to be hard to get into because Kira’s crew will follow her there. That said, now there is at least FINALLY a chance of training with this master in her field – and really is there better fitness news than that?

 

Top photo from Kira’s Facebook page and bottom just a little internet goodness.

Act Right: Noah Neiman Takes On Fit & Fearless Fitness

noah x fatbottomslim II

This weekend, Union Square Park was taken over by Fit & Fearless Fitness, an event that celebrated working out hard and the empowerment that you get from exercise and healthier life choices. I loved the mission and the people involved in this awesome event, so even though I couldn’t stay for the whole thing, I knew I had to go. The event took over the northern side of Union Square with the “class” space immediately after you got through the gates that had been set up. I got there early, which worked out in my favor since I got the chance to hit up one of the event’s sponsors, Champion’s fit truck, before class and score a free sports bra!

noah x fatbottomslim

For Fit & Fearless Fitness, the first class up was led by the always awesome, Noah Neiman, billed as “Combat Fitness”.  I had no idea what that entailed but I adore Noah and never doubt his ability to teach a fun, challenging class. Noah, best known for his ridiculously popular classes at Barry’s Bootcamp, has come up with a take on a traditional bodyweight high intensity interval class that includes a lot of boxing moves, tons of squats and a million jumping jacks. We kept going back to the “boxing” jumping jacks, where you would whack the back of your hands together to help open up your shoulders. I both loved them and started to really hate them after about the fourth time we went back to them. Through the whole workout, Noah made his way in through the crowd, high-fiving people, cracking jokes and encouraging people to keep going.

noah x fatbottomslim III

We did squats with punches, lunges with punches and even burpees with a punch combo in the middle. The first time he had us go down to the ground, you could feel everyone pause…like, wait…you want me to touch the ground at Union Square?? To which Noah yelled: “You aren’t scared of a little dirt! You are tough! You are New Yorkers! Purell is killing you!” To which the entire group laughed and promptly threw themselves to the ground. But I mean really though, there are VERY few people who could get me to actually touch that ground. Noah just happens to be one of them.

noah x fatbottomslim IIII

The weather was so perfect for this event, a clear, warm day but it got hot FAST out there working out on the paving stones of Union Square! Thankfully, there was a lot of water to be had and Noah took pity on us, giving us a few more water breaks than I know he would have normally done. After one of them, he called us all over to a huddle and as we gathered he asked me: “What is my phrase?” Which of course I knew the answer to: ACT RIGHT. Noah then launched into what that means to him. That really, it is about working hard, about not praying for someone to help you but for the strength to do it yourself and that REALLY all of us are capable of so much more than we think. He told us we were going to do a couple of times of yelling “Act right” to set the tone for the second half of the workout but on the very first try, we all roared “ACT RIGHT!” at the top of our lungs. We didn’t need a second take – we were all 100% there with him. His response? “That was perfect. THAT is how it’s done! Now lets get back to WORK.”

noah x fatbottomslim V

I was so sorry I couldn’t stay for the rest of the event but that class was the perfect, inspiring, challenging workout and I am so glad I got to go support this amazing cause. This Inaugural event raised over $170,000 for City of Hope, an organization that believes fitness is a key factor in helping to boost self-esteem, promote confidence and preventing certain cancers – which definitely is a mission that exemplifies “Acting Right!”

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FatBottomSlim

Nike’s #UnleashSpeed With The Brick NYC Crew

Last week, Will Lanier sent out an announcement that he would be leading one of the special #UnleashSpeed events that Nike NYC was throwing for the lead-up to the SuperBowl. I didn’t even finish reading the email before sending in my RSVP to what I knew was going to be a ridiculously fun event. NikeTown on 57th has turned their roof space into a tented astroturf playground of fitness fanatics dreams and then turned it over to some of the best trainers in the city to have fun with…

UnleashSpeed at NikeTown

Since weekend trains from Brooklyn can be a dicey prospect, I left myself plenty of time to get there and ended up arriving so early that I was the very first person up to the roof. Even though it was a 14 degree day, inside the tent it was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be. The Brick team – Will, Erica and Sherry, were all going over the plan for the day so while they were busy with that, I got a few minutes to take in what fun was being set up for us. There were rowers, kettlebells, battle ropes and agility ladders but the thing I was most excited to see was the tire & sledgehammers. I’d heard they were going to be a part of the event but until I actually saw them, I hadn’t really believed it.  As people –mostly the Brick New York crew – started pouring in, the energy began to rise. Everyone knew this was going to be fun and from the second they entered, the energy in the tent was palpable.

UnleashSpeed OverviewUp on stage, Will put on a microphone and put us through a warm up before breaking down the workout ahead of us. It sounded like Brick’s class with some extra bits of awesomeness thrown in and I knew from the get-go this was going to be amazing. HARD but amazing. The 5 stations that had been set up for us mostly had 4 different moves that we would be doing over the course of two rounds. Erica and Sherry, two of Brick’s awesome coaches, showed us what each move should look like at the 5 different stations as he described them. Then, we were divided into groups.

UnleashSpeed Tire Flipping I lucked out…my first station was the Tire Station and I was giddy. First up was flipping a tire, then hopping through it to the other side where my partner then flipped it the other way. I loved flipping the tire but hopping through it was hard! Every minute Will would call out that we had to move, so after one minute, we were on to whacking another tire with a sledgehammer – with each person taking turns hitting it. There is nothing about that station that wasn’t fun.  I mean really, how often do you get to flip a tire or wield a sledgehammer on a rooftop in NYC?

UnleashSpeed Rowing and Plates The next station flew by, then it was off to a rowing/evil station combo. Will had actually told us it was evil before the rounds even started and he didn’t lie. 3 from my group grabbed the rowers, so 2 of us ended up doing the evil part – 6 lunges with a 25lb plate held over our heads and 6 Squat jumps clutching the plate to our chests followed by 6 weighted sit-ups. I had a deep fear that I was going to drop the plate at any second.  At that station, we stayed put and did all 3 minutes where we started. It really was evil.  But Will and crew shouted encouragement at us and kept us going.

Then, it was off to the Battle Ropes, Squats, Box Jumps and Burpee Station. Ugh. The Box Jump Burpee combo always seems so mean but I was glad to be forced to do it the first round so that by the next round, I would have the Battle Rope fun to look forward to.  The final station was the Agility Station, which is really never my strong suit, but I’m working on getting better! Will, Erica and Sherry constantly made the rounds, correcting form, giving encouragement and being the supportive and amazing coaches that they always are.

Round 2 just flew by and as we went through the stations, we bonded over the awesomeness of the experience and the camaraderie from challenging ourselves. We cheered and high-fived when all the rounds were over – knowing we were part of something special in the playground Nike had created in the heart of the city!

UnleashSpeed Brick Crew

 

Photos by Nike NYC

The LBC & SinWorkouts Throwdown at Peak Performance

Sin Workouts and FBS

I hadn’t planned to go to the LBC/Sin Workouts Event at Peak Performance, but when I got a text from Vanessa of SinWorkouts the night before the event asking if I still wanted to come, my immediate answer was “HELL YES!”.   Any event that Sin was going to be throwing at Peak was bound to be an awesome, fun and kick-ass time and I had already regretting the fact that I hadn’t signed up.

L Boogie
Lauren Goldberg, or L Boogie as she is called, has been a trainer at Peak Performance for the last 10 years.  The LBC (L Boogie Club) this time was a team competition, with teams of 4 moving through 9 stations set up throughout the loft-like space, that allowed us to play with some of their fun tools. Peak Performance is an amazing private training treasure in NYC, so the chance to get a workout there in a group setting is a rare treat, although, there is talk that the LBC might become a monthly occurrence…which would be awesome.
Dynamic Mode Treadmill
Plank off
When we walked in we were given numbers and a name tag – I was in group #7. Each station was numbered and the goal was to  do as many reps as possible in 4 minutes.  I was a little sore going into it (since I had done B|X at Brick just a few hours before) but was committed to giving it my all. Each station was manned with someone taking count of how many reps your team managed to get in during the 4 minute rounds. The stations, which needed a little explanation, were  also staffed with some of Peak’s kickass trainers.
The workout was broken into two sections, with a short break in the middle. My group’s first section was made up of situps, treadmill runs in “Dynamic Mode” (which I was surprisingly strong at), stair running, and a plank-off that one of my teammates crushed with a full 4 minute plank, which was insanely impressive. Then there was that short, blissful break….
FBS & the Prowler
When we came back my team was on my favorite tool, the Prowler. I seriously love it. I can’t help myself! The power and concentration and sheer will that it takes to move that heavy sled across the floor always make me push myself to be the best I can be. Then it was on to the rope-pull machine – which I’d never done.  While in a seated position in front of a rope, the rope is pulled along using hand over hand. I zoned out and just pulled – apparently beating every other woman that day!  Whoop!  It was also awesome to finally get to try my hand at the Jacobs Ladder but  mostly the next few rounds were a little bit of a blur. By the final round of wall sits, I had to tap out early – because at that point, my legs where just completely fried.
Sin Workouts Supporting
At the end, when Lauren blew the final whistle, everyone rallied around –clapping and hollering. It was a ridiculously good time.  The workout was capped with awesome goody bags, mimosas, mingling and even some massages. Seriously, is there a better way to end an event?
LBC & Sin Workouts at Peak Performance
Check out this short video about this awesome event:
Photos and Video by Eric Stafford from Stafford Sports Media